When we were first introduced to Sony’s new high-end line of G Master lenses for its Alpha 7-series mirrorless cameras, only the 85mm f/1.4 prime and the 24–70mm f/2.8 zoom had made it to their final iterations. Now, the FE 70–200mm f/2.8 GM OSS G Master lens is starting to make its way over from Japan and onto store shelves. I had a chance to shoot with one of the first of these full-frame E-mount zooms to make the trip, as well as Sony’s new 2X teleconverter, which is designed specifically for use with the 70–200mm G Master zoom.
The lens will be available for $2,600, which isn’t unexpected for a pro lens. The 1.4X and 2X teleconverters will cost $550 each.
Tech Info: f/2.8 for 1/40 sec at ISO 400, 200mm
*All images in this gallery shot with the Sony A7R II camera and are unedited unless otherwise noted. One of the first things I noticed about the lens is how close it focuses. A 70–200mm f/2.8 typically isn’t my go-to for detail shots, but it’s totally doable with the G Master.*
Tech Info: f/2.8 for 1/100 sec at ISO 1600, 70mm
This is a much more typical usage for a 70–200mm lens in my arsenal. It’s a sharp, neutral frame that handled the high-contrast lighting nicely, and the transition from sharpness to blur is very pleasing.
Tech Info: f/2.8 for 1/60sec at ISO 400, 70mm
Lots of fine detail and intersecting lines make for a relatively tricky scenario, but again, the FE 70–200mm f/2.8 G Master does a good job keeping everything in check. If you look closely at the edges of the white highlights in the top right, you can see some very slight green fringing, but it’s extremely manageable.
Tech Info: f/2.8 for 1/400 sec at ISO 1000, 179mm
In terms of color reproduction, the neutral tones look spot on, while the neon pink wheels aren’t quite as vibrant as they looked in person. That’s what I prefer, though, because it allows me to get the color just right in editing. I have left these images unedited for the sake of consistency.
Tech Info: f/2.8 for 1/400 sec at ISO 1600, 142mm
Here we get a look at the bokeh produced by the lens and you can see the change in shape as it approaches the edges. You can also catch a little bit of oddness within the bokeh from the aspherical lens if you search closely, especially as you approach the center of the frame. Overall, however, I find the look to be pleasing.
Tech Info: f/2.8 for 1/400 sec at ISO 800, 70mm
In terms of focus speed, the G Master provides a very solid experience for a mirrorless setup. We have been shooting with flagship DSLRs lately, like the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II for testing, so this is a very different animal.
Tech Info: f/3.2 for 1/1000 sec at ISO 160, 200mm
As part of the press event, we were able to shoot a baseball game between the San Diego Padres and the Baltimore Oriels, including some of the preparation. Holding the large lens with a small Alpha body made me wish I had the A7 line’s extra battery grip to help balance things out.
Tech Info: f/3.2 for 1/1000 sec at ISO 200, 200mm
Once the AF system is dialed, the lens does a good job slicing through somewhat complicated scenarios and locks on rather effectively. The bright highlights on that metal railing are kept fairly in check.
Tech Info: f/3.2 for 1/1000 sec at ISO 800, 132mm
Predictably, distortion isn’t much of an issue with this telephoto lens throughout the focal range.
Tech Info: f/3.2 for 1/1000 sec at ISO 500, 200mm
Close up and nearly wide open, this detail shot provides a lot of sharpness and a very appealing overall aesthetic. I underexposed by about a stop, but I blame my eyes adjusting from the sunny field to the shady dugout and my desire to keep these sample images unedited.
Tech Info: f/3.2 for 1/1000 sec at ISO 800, 200mm
Another bat detail photo that could use a little more exposure, but you can see the fine detail rendering. The lens itself feels fairly big, especially compared to the A7R II camera body, which is relatively compact.
Tech Info: f/3.2 for 1/1000 sec at ISO 640, 195mm
The last in my series of bat photos is another detail-style photo I typically wouldn’t shoot with a 70–200mm lens, but the close-focusing abilities really do make it feel very versatile. It’s actually probably my favorite feature of the lens overall.
Tech Info: f/3.2 for 1/1000 sec at ISO 100, 200mm
Really nice sharpness here and lots of contrast that’s pretty well managed. At full resolution, you can see individual water drops coming from the hose.
Tech Info: f/3.2 for 1/1000 sec at ISO 100, 111mm
Here in the middle of the focal range, things get very sharp, even at wider apertures. The amount of detail rendered on that machine he’s pushing is impressive, even with no sharpening.
Tech Info: f/3.2 for 1/1000 sec at ISO 250, 198mm
This fan arrived early to the game to help show off the G Master zoom’s lack of distortion and its specular bokeh.
Tech Info: f/2.8 for 1/2000 sec at ISO 400, 200mm
This image is cropped in a bit because it was shot before I put on the teleconverter and there were lots of distractions around the frame. The sharpness and resolution hold up nicely to the crop.
Tech Info: f/3.2 for 1/1000 sec at ISO 200, 200mm
This is what 200mm looks like from this vantage point without the crop. I expected to see some fringing in the top center of the frame where the beams mix with the sky, but the area is very clean.
Tech Info: f/2.8 for 1/2000 sec at ISO 200, 137mm
Again, the sharpness in the middle of the range is really impressive. You can catch the texture on the uniform’s numbers. The bokeh is a little harsh at this range, but this wasn’t the most forgiving lighting scenario, either.
Tech Info: f/2.8 for 1/2000 sec at ISO 160, 200mm
While the A7R II isn’t exactly a sports camera, it is capable of capturing some solid action. My timing isn’t perfect, however, so some extra frames per second would have offered a few more options.
Tech Info: f/2.8 for 1/2000 sec at ISO 250, 200mm
Another cropped image of the pitcher, this time in the windup. This one is cropped pretty significantly and is still sharp and large enough for a full-page magazine page.
Tech Info: f/2.8 for 1/2000 sec at ISO 125
While the G Master doesn’t feel slow to focus per se, it is not exactly a speed demon, so it took a little getting used to in order to figure out exactly how to time the fast action shots, especially when they involved object tracking. Initial impressions reveal it to be a great portrait lens and a good sports lens.
Tech Info: f/2.8 for 1/2500 sec at ISO 160
Nice interaction between highlights and shadows here with lots of detail and accurate colors, even in the out-of-focus areas.
Tech Info: f/5.6 for 1/2500 sec at ISO 640
This shot was taken with the 2X teleconverter attached and it makes the composition tighter and more effective. It’s softer at full magnification, but the photo is still plenty acceptable to my eye.
Tech Info: f/6.3 for 1/2500 sec at ISO 640
The two-stop aperture reduction that happens as a result of the teleconverter isn’t much of a problem when shooting sports in a bright setting like this. The shutter speed here is still plenty high and there’s lots of bokeh to be had in the background.
Tech Info: f/6.3 for 1/2500 sec at ISO 640, 342mm
The second image in a three-photo series of the pitcher doing his thing. Again, the loss of sharpness is apparent upon close inspection, but focus performance seemed consistent.
Tech Info: f/6.3 for 1/2500 sec at ISO 800, 308mm
It took me several tries to get the timing to keep the ball in the frame.
Tech Info: f/2.8 for 1/2500 sec at ISO 400, 70mm
*I wish I was back a little to get the whole glove in the frame, but notice the neutral rendering of the bright orange color, which is something pro shooters and those who print images will appreciate. *
Stan Horaczek is the senior gear editor of PopPhoto. He oversees a team of gear-obsessed writers and editors dedicated to finding and featuring the best and most useful photography equipment, from cameras and lenses to bags and accessories.